Teaching Piano: A Free Online Course
Teaching piano to the children of today is not like teaching the children of 1900-1990. The influences and experiences of contemporary children are quite different from the age of John Thompson and John Schaum. These were famous American piano teachers who created print methods that endured for decades. Some of the old texts are very useful, many of them are not.
You will find us referring to a series of books called Piano by Number as well as many others, such as the fine books in the Bastien Series. You can use any method you want.
The Psychology Of Piano
What we provide is psychological training in how to effectively deal with children’s personalities. You must enhance their ability to absorb the art of the piano regardless of their current abilities.
We are providing you with a series of lessons, lessons we've learned in this "living laboratory" where I have seen what children actually can do comfortably at the piano. These techniques were developed over many years of observation and experimentation. They are all outside the realm of “conventional piano teaching” and have profound and beneficial effects in early piano lessons.
Think Outside The Box
We observed what worked for children, what pace they set for learning and where their “comfort zone” was. The “comfort zone” is the place where children can produce simple music without the stress normally associated with piano lessons.
Many of the techniques we describe are presented in the form of piano games. The “game” is the primary unit of instruction with our “method.”
Repetition must be disguised in some manner that counteracts the mind-numbing effect of rote practicing. Certainly, you have to repeat passages to master them.
We’re teaching you how to survive the repetition.
Observe The Child, Modify Your Behavior
Some issues require careful observation of the child to find a way to unlock their abilities. Other issues simply require a new attitude on the part of the teacher, usually one of extreme patience. Patience is the prime capital of the children’s piano teacher. Many an impatient and impulsive piano teacher has destroyed a child’s desire to play piano with a single, ill-considered criticism.
Use Humor, Not Guilt
It is better to laugh at the mistake and take note of it for further study -- but don't let the child feel bad about it. An atmosphere of happy, game-like study is best. In order to be an effective children’s piano teacher, you’ll need to be rather theatrical.
Adopt the manner of a good-natured guest who has something interesting to tell.
If they aren’t in the mood for your “story,” tell another.
The Child’s Mood Is Key
A large part of successful piano teaching is constantly gauging the mood of the “contestant.” If you carefully observe a child at the piano, they will practically tell you what they are in the mood to learn. If it is nothing that they wish to learn, and that happens often, be clever enough to disguise a simple skill as “nothing.” Follow the child’s mood.
Fit The Method To The Child
There is so much to learn from the piano that a clever teacher can start anywhere and still have the child come away from the lesson with some skill upon which another can be built.
Children’s piano requires a balance between fun and work. You must have the ability to disguise work as fun whenever possible.
(This title comes in two versions: Printed $19.95, and eBook $9.95)
COURSE ONE: TEACHING TOOLS
COURSE TWO: TEACHING BACKGROUND
COURSE THREE: PIANO GAMES